above: Sam knight pictured with Kate moss | shutterstock
Mention Sam McKnight’s name in certain circles, and he will be spoken about with near god-like reverence. Yes, he’s a hairstylist, but to call him such would be a disservice. He’s an artist. A visionary. And his client list past and present, reads like a dream dinner party guest list: Diana, Princess of Wales, Tilda Swinton, Ziggy Stardust... the list goes on. In 2016, a Somerset House retrospective of his 40-year career, showcased his clout in the fashion world, and the extent to which he’s shaped, no, coiffed it, working with revered photographers such as Craig McDean, Nick Knight and Irving Penn. And last night, at The Royal Albert Hall the British Fashion Council awarded him the Isabella Blow Fashion Creator Award at the annual British Fashion Awards, presented by Emilia Clarke.
Recognising contribution to the fashion industry, previous winners include contemporary fashion photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott (2018), Nick Knight, (2016), and beauty behemoth Pat McGrath (2017).
In the throngs of backstage mayhem, it is Sam, hairspray in hand, who radiates affable calm. He’s seldom without a smorgasbord of references, each of which denotes why he’s cut, dried, pinned or plaited hair the way he has. Of the announcement, Sam told BURO.: “I was struck dumb when I found out. I could hardly believe it! I’ve also had to sit on it for three months, without telling a soul, which has been challenging to say the least. It’s great that the powers that be are honouring backstage beauty, so I’ll be accepting it on behalf of all the great hair behind the scenes teams bringing the fashion to life.”